The actor-turned-filmmaker’s young children played with the puppet on set — and had to be put through a daily routine: “I would just consistently remind them that there’s no circumstance that could ever arise where they’re allowed to talk about Baby.”
Pop culture gave birth to an icon a few weeks ago, but for The Mandalorian director Bryce Dallas Howard and her family, it’s been an “agonizing” year as they carefully kept a lid on the secret of Baby Yoda. Howard, who first threw her name in the Lucasfilm hat by shadowing her father, Ron Howard, on the set of Solo: A Star Wars Story, had to create a daily mantra for her young children.
“The thing I was most nervous about was that my kids had been on set quite a bit. So, they had seen Baby and interacted with Baby,” Howard tells The Hollywood Reporter. “When we were filming, my kids were 6 and 11; they’re now 7 and 12. When the kids went back to school, every single day I would say, ‘So, what are you not gonna talk about today?’ And they would say, ‘Baby!’”
As an actor-turned-filmmaker, Howard couldn’t help but draw on her own body of work when helming scenes of her Nov. 29 episode, “Sanctuary.”
“There’s a shot behind Omera (Julia Jones) and Mando (Pedro Pascal) … when they’re inside the cottage,” Howard explains. “We did French overs for that, which is a tiny homage to a scene that I had with Joaquin Phoenix in The Village. And then, of course, with all the AT-ST stuff, Jurassic is definitely a really great reference for that — when you’re on the run from a monster in close proximity and that monster is thirty-feet high.”
In a recent conversation with THR, Howard also discusses the state-of-the-art technology that’s being used on the Mandalorian set, the particulars of directing Baby Yoda and the luxury of having some of Ludwig Göransson’s score during production.
Pop culture gave birth to an icon a few weeks ago, something you’ve known about for over a year. What’s it been like to keep the secret that is Baby Yoda?
Agonizing! (Laughs.) I’ve been walking around for the last year with a face like the cat that ate the canary. I’m so, so, so excited to be a part of this and the phenomenon that Baby has become. The thing I was most nervous about was that my kids had been on set quite a bit. So, they had seen Baby and interacted with Baby. When we were filming, my kids were 6 and 11; they’re now 7 and 12. When the kids went back to school, every single day I would say, “So, what are you not gonna talk about today?” And they would say, “Baby!”(Laughs.) I’d be like, “That’s right!” I would just consistently remind them that there’s no circumstance that could ever arise where they’re allowed to talk about Baby. Now, for them, it’s very confusing because I’m like, “Oh, now, you can talk about Baby,” and they’re like, “Oh, okay.” We’ve been having this routine for about a year now, and it’s fun; it’s really, really fun. Everyone is super pissed that there’s no merch. (Laughs.) Everyone is like, “I want a Baby Yoda stuffed toy!” But, I think they made a good choice in not focusing there and just focusing on the storytelling.